Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan


  • Martin Gibert
  • Elise Desaulniers
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_83-6



Carnism refers to the ideology conditioning people to consume certain animal products. It is essentially the opposite of veganism. The term was coined by social psychologist Melanie Joy (2001). She has fully developed the concept in further papers and in her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (Joy 2010). As the title of Joy’s book suggest, people’s relation to animals depends crucially on the species to which they belong: “We love dogs and eat cows not because dogs and cows are fundamentally different – cows, like dogs, have feelings, preferences, and consciousness – but because our perception of them is different. And, consequently, our perception of their meat is different as well” (Joy 2010, p. 12).

A Descriptive Concept with a Normative Import

The primary goal of the concept of carnism is to describe a psychological fact:...


Animal Product Moral Knowledge Descriptive Concept Moral Perception Eating Meat 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Independant ResearcherMontrealCanada